Biology is my Religion. Bring yourself and others joy not pain.

As most people who are not religious say, you do not need religion to have moral standards. I think biology can also offer insight into the right vs. wrong dilemma of life. We each know pain and pleasure and we know that pain is bad while pleasure is good. Morally we can look at each situation and determine who we would bring pain to by acting a certain way and who we would bring pleasure to. If we believe that our actions would bring us and those around us more joy than pain they are good actions, if not they are bad actions.

Of course it gets way more complicated than that in real life but that is the basis, and living within that realm can bring you very, very close to the moral standards of any major religion.


4 thoughts on “Biology is my Religion. Bring yourself and others joy not pain.

  1. In response to both this comment of yours at JP’s blog, and this post:

    It gets way more complicated than that, indeed.

    Cheating on my unloving wife with my loving mistress (I’m not married, speaking hypothetically here) will result in pleasure – an orgasm, feelings of love and validation – despite it being a morally reprehensible thing to do. Of course, if discovered by the wife, would cause her pain, but people rationalize away that ‘she’ll never know’, even though she certainly would figure it out over time.

    Likewise, spanking your kids and watching them howl in pain may itself be painful to you, but sometimes pain is good, and necessary, as a corrective – something our modern society has lost the wisdom of, with all the stupid anti-spanking / banning-spanking movements that have arisen (with which, as a Christian, I cannot agree, though I agree with my blog partner that there may be better alternatives, but not in all situations, and I’d leave that up to the parents, not the State, to decide. But I digress.) Now, one can argue that in the long run, physical correction will result in net joy, and almost certainly, that is so; at least compared to what it would be like if someone was not corrected, not punished, taught right from wrong.

    Now, our modern First World society probably has the least amount of suffering and pain that has ever existed. But are we morally superior to societies such as more traditionalist ones in Third World countries, where suffering is a way of life? Surely not, with our widespread promiscuity, homosexuality, divorce, etc. Surely THEY are better off morally, despite the grinding poverty, war, starvation and general human misery they face.

    In which case, whence the correlation between right living and pleasure, joy, non-suffering, or wrong-living and pain, suffering? It’s actually ass-backwards in this regard, as to what happens!

    Thus, right and wrong must come from a source that is truly transcendent, i.e. from above. Because we can’t always find direct correlation between morality and pleasure, and immorality and pain, and moreover, we’re likely all too ready to gloss over negative effects of sin in favour of the apparently positive ones. Even Christians can know what’s right, yet fail to do it – hence the Pauline letters scolding erring churches; even the Jews can fall into the same trap – hence the scolding by the prophets of the Israelites for falling into sin, over and over and over. We’re like that, we humans, even as religious believers. That’s why we need religion – to remind us.

    How, then, can you possibly expect to have unbelievers, who have no absolute morality nor any One to impose punishments or rewards for adherence or lack to such a code, to be persuaded to live morally, all the time or as close to it as possible?

    You cannot. You can hope, and encourage people to do what is right, certainly, but your system necessarily lacks the impetus that a theistic one will have.

    • Thanks for your response!! What you are saying is exactly what Jesse Powell is saying. That religion is needed so that morality will not be questioned. It must come from something superior (he calls it the superior power/ the answer to all questions/ an understanding of nature). He wants atheists to embrace/accept the superior power as a moral compass similarly to the way religious people have just without the bible stories.

      I disagree and agree at the same time. I think that it is easier that way, but it is not impossible to do other ways. It is not impossible to logically prove that the moral compass of the bible is good and worth using. It is not impossible to derive these ideas without religion, god or something superior.

      Cheating on your unloving wife is wrong because it brings more pain than pleasure. This was especially the case in the past when there was a stronger correlation between sex and children. You have outlined the pleasure that you and the loving mistress experience but what about your children? What about the children born of your mistress? What about society?? The pain that comes from cheating is not just breaking the heart of your wife, or causing the relationship you have committed to stay in for life to be damaged. It goes way deeper then that. Cheating can create new humans who will have to live without the presence of their father. This is horrible for children and worse for society and leads to a lot of pain and a failing society. That is why cheating is not allowed, not simply because people get jealous (though this is undoubtedly a BIG part of it as well).

      What you have to ask yourself is EXACTLY how did the first world become the first world?? And if you think that religion and traditionalism had nothing to do with it you are mistaken. The poor traditional societies that you speak about are only better off because they have a future, while we in the west do not! They will multiple and they will win inherent the Earth because they are traditional, their women submit, their men lead and their families function. This is a strong model to build your society upon. In current terms IF it is true that we in the west are happier then we are in fact morally superior from the present day angle. I do not know who is really happier. But the thing is culture and religion has never been about instant gratification or present day pleasure. It has always been about total happiness and considering both the short term and long term effects of your actions. In the long run, the societies that will be happier are the ones built on a patriarchal foundation. They will have the strongest family ties, the best environments for children, the most children, the most technology, the most happiness and healthiness. Traditional societies win. Long term and overall they lead to first world countries, they lead to happiness. Happiness, in turn leads to liberalism and liberalism loses.

      And yes, when all things are considered every time you will end up with right and wrong being dependent on the overall pain or pleasure resulting from one’s actions. I challenge you to find me a case where this is not true.

  2. The problem is, the atheistic, non-religious society we have arrived at today correlates very closely with the instant-gratification mindset and overall general selfishness. You recognize that the First World became wealthy because people were willing to cooperate for the greater good, and be self-sacrificing, postponing prosperity into the future so all might partake, and that because religion enjoined them to do so.

    That being the case, and the present-day example of post-religious, secular society being not particularly encouraging in that regard, how do you and JP think you can make your fellow atheists (you two are clearly outliers) be more altruistic, more self-sacrificing, more willing to put the greater good ahead of personal interests?

    I think you’re both going about a fool’s errand. You’re both outliers; only a tiny number of people who are like you will be drawn to your messages; the rest of atheists will do whatever suits them. It’s a noble endeavour, but one which I’m positive will ultimately be fruitless.

    Oh well; your choice!

    • Yes I agree it may be a fools errand, but we can only say what we think. We can not force anyone to agree with us, we are just saying what we think and that is that there are logical reasons to support and live in accordance with traditionalism and patriarchy. If atheists were to argue with us and we were to able to show them the logic behind patriarchy maybe they would be more open to it as individuals. Patriarchy does support the greater good, but the greater good supports the individual so there is a lot to gain for self in supporting the patriarchy as well. We just hope to reason with non believers and if they can see what we see they will also support the patriarchy and traditionalism. They will also want to live traditional’, patriarchal, religious life styles.

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